How do I get the smell out of my cycling/running shoes?


My cycling shoes and running shoes have been living outside for the last couple of days. Following the rain last week, both got wet a few times and never quite dried out and started to whiff a little.

If your shoes get wet and don’t dry out in time (or slowly) it’s the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive and multiply. It’s the bacteria that produce the smell.

As cycling shoes are rigid and made of hard wearing material the drying process is also not helped.

Here are a number of ways that you can try and get your cycling cleats/running shoes smelling nice, or maybe just not smelling.

Dry Ways

Wear socks – The first way is to try and reduce the amount of bacteria accumulation in your shoes (once they are fully cleaned/deodorised). Wearing clean socks whenever you ride/run will do this. If you’re a triathlete, this can obviously be tricky, but when you’re training it shouldn’t be a problem.

Sprays – There are anti-bacterial sprays for your feet and shoes that you can spray in the shoes daily or whenever you use them.

Freezer – Put your shoes in a ziplock bag or plastic bag and put them in the freezer for 24 hours. This kills the bacteria and removes the smell. Take them out and leave to thaw! I believe this one is a bit hit and miss.

Sunlight – UV light kills bacteria so take your insoles out and put your shoes in the sun, obviously on a sunny day, if you come across one. Best combined with one of the wet options below.

Baking Powder/Soda bicarbonate – Sprinkle some baking powder/soda bicarb in your shoes and leave them overnight. Shake the powder out the next day. Baking powder and soda bicarb is the same thing and is antibacterial and good odour absorber. You can also try adding two tablespoons of either to inside an old sock or tights. Tie the end up and stick it in your shoes for a few days.

Cat Litter – You can try the same thing with cat litter. It absorbs water and odours. Fill and tie up a sock or the end of some old tights, and stick them in your shoes overnight. You can keep these and pops them in your shoes/cleats each time after a run/ride.

Wet Ways

Smell shoes

If you use your shoes every day, these may not be the best methods for you, but I would suggest they are a little more intensive. If your shoes are really ponging, these may be the way to go.

Dishwasher – A very common remedy for stinky shoes/cleats is to stick them on the top shelf of a dishwasher and put it on a low-temperature wash. Obviously, give it a go when your other half is out.

Washing machine – A similar method is the washing machine. Again, be very careful. This can easily damage your washing machine and possibly your cleats. If you are going to try it, stuff your machine with old towels so your shoes don’t bang around too much. I take no responsibility for broken washing machines. Do not put it on a high temperature as this can damage the glue and your shoes could fall apart.

Antibacterial cleaner – Get some disinfectant such as Dettol or similar and add some to a bucket of hot water (follow the instructions on the bottle). They kill 99.9% of all bacteria, so why should it not work on shoes. Leave overnight or a few hours, rinse and leave out to dry, in the sun preferably. Beware, there is potential for your shoes to be discoloured. Try the scented versions, not the original (antiseptic) for beautiful flowers smells.

When drying your footwear, stuff them with newspaper to help them dry out. Replace the newspaper every few hours.

I tried the antibacterial cleaner method and it worked quite well. The smell has gone and are still giving off the smell of sea minerals and water lilies! Lovely!

Ride London 46 Recap – 30th August 2017

Ride London Start

I’ve been cycle commuting on and off for 7 years. I rarely do more than 7-8 miles in one go. Two laps of Richmond Park is my max, before I free wheel into the café for a brownie! After a number of years of trying, I finally got a place in Ride London. Not the 100 but the 46!

As opposed to running, cycling needs a bit more stuff. Therefore, I was up early Saturday morning, cleaning my bike, oiling my chain and stripping it down (mudguard and reflectors removed) to make way for my numbers. I set out my kit and set my alarm from 5.30am. I was ready to go at 11 am the day before. So much for not being prepared! Continue reading “Ride London 46 Recap – 30th August 2017”

How to buy the right running shoes

Nike Shoes

The great thing about running is how little kit you need. The one essential piece of kit you do need is your shoes. They’re the one item that is not worth scrimping on. Your feet are obviously integral to running and you should look after them.

Everyone runs differently and the way that their foot lands or “strikes” the ground is different. Having a good idea of how your foot strikes the ground can help you buy the correct shoe for you. Continue reading “How to buy the right running shoes”

Halfs on the Horizon – Am I improving?

Ealing Half 2016 Finish

As ever, I’ve let things slide. Races (at which I’m excellent at booking) are quickly rushing up on the horizon.

There are 8 weeks until the Great North Run and 10 weeks until the Ealing Half.

I’ve been running and training regularly, so there’s some work in the tank. I have no idea where I’m currently at fitness or speed wise, as I have not raced or parkrun’d in a while. Sometimes, when I run, I feel good, and sometimes, I have a shocker. Continue reading “Halfs on the Horizon – Am I improving?”

7 expensive bits of running kit you don’t need

If you’re anything like me, before you start anything, you need to be prepared. Everything has got to be in place, just in case!

What I’ve come to realise, is that this is a form of procrastination. The prep is just a way of not doing the thing I’m meant to be doing.

As I have (slightly) minimised my life, I now only have the things I need and use and try to keep it as simple as possible.

Here are 7 bits of expensive kit that are not essential for running or starting running! Continue reading “7 expensive bits of running kit you don’t need”

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can

Arthur Ashe

I like a good quote.

One I have been thinking about for a while now is –

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”

Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe was a tennis player, 3-time grand slam winner (including Wimbledon), civil rights advocate and Apartheid activist, founder of the ATP and educator.

There are many parts to Ashe’s story Continue reading “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”

“There’s nothing to eat” – Food Decision Fatigue

Fridge Food

Ever say “There’s nothing to eat?”

End up visiting Tesco Express every day?

Go shopping but then can’t figure out how to make a meal out of what you’ve bought?

Eat the same thing every week?

Tired of pre-packed sandwiches for lunch?

Unable to sustain a meal plan for a week or so?

Got scores of cookbooks that look pretty on the shelf but never use them?

When someone asks you what you would like for dinner – you can only think of about 3 things you can feasibly cook.

Your go-to dish is Spaghetti Bolognese?

Yep me too! Continue reading ““There’s nothing to eat” – Food Decision Fatigue”

Living with Lions – Find your Motivation

Lions Team

Although running and cycling are my main pastimes, my favourite team sport is Rugby.

Currently down in New Zealand the British and Irish Lions are preparing for the First Test match on Saturday against the back to back World Champions.

To the uninitiated, every 4 years a squad of rugby players are selected from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to go on a 7-8 week tour to either Australia, South Africa or New Zealand. They play a number of matches against club and regional sides and culminates in 3 Tests against the hosts. Most rugby players see being picked to be in a Lions squad and playing a test match as the pinnacle of their career. Continue reading “Living with Lions – Find your Motivation”

Heart Rate – Does it help your running?

Heart Rate Monitor

When I’m BMFing, I turn my Garmin watch face to the heart rate screen. This is so I don’t end up looking at it and realising there is still 40 minutes left!

I’ve been hearing about heart rate zones for years. I came to discover when I wrote my post on the PB (PR) trap, that I was running in the “grey zone”. An area where always running at a higher intensity does not improve your aerobic system more. It just wears you out. Continue reading “Heart Rate – Does it help your running?”

Joining a Running Club – Should you?

Running Club

I recently attended a few running club sessions over the last couple of weeks at the Wimbledon Windmilers.

If you’re contemplating joining a running club and what to move on with your running. Here are some thoughts that have been going around my head for a while now, as I’ve tried to make a decision. Continue reading “Joining a Running Club – Should you?”